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Individualized Matlab Projects In Undergraduate Electromagnetics

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Innovations in ECE Education II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.728.1 - 15.728.11



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Paper Authors


Stuart Wentworth Auburn University

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Stu Wentworth received his Electrical Engineering doctorate from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1990. Since then he has been with Auburn Universit⁹s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, specializing in electromagnetics and microelectronics. He has authored a pair of undergraduate electromagnetics texts, and has won several awards related to teaching. He is a long-standing member of his departmen⁴s curriculum and assessment committee.

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Dennis Silage Temple University

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DENNIS SILAGE ( received the PhD in EE from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Professor, teaches electromagnetics, digital data communication and digital signal processing. Dr. Silage is past chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Division of ASEE and recipient of the 2007 ASEE National Outstanding Teaching Award.

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Michael Baginski Auburn University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Individualized MATLAB Projects In Undergraduate Electromagnetics


Four projects are described that require students to compose individualized MATLAB programs to solve a problem in electromagnetics. These projects are: (1) vector electric field from an arbitrary charge distribution, (2) vector magnetic field from an arbitrary current distribution, (3) frequency dependent reflection coefficient looking into impedance matching networks, and (4) beam pattern for an arbitrarily arranged 4 dipole array.


MATLAB projects are often assigned in undergraduate electromagnetics courses, in part to satisfy the ABET criteria on use of modern engineering tools. The best projects will enhance understanding of the subject matter while providing a significant programming exercise. A challenge for the instructor is to individualize assignments to make it more likely that students are doing their own work.

Four projects are presented that require students to write a MATLAB program that calculates the project’s objective. First, the vector electric field is determined from an arbitrary charge distribution. Second, the vector magnetic field is determined from an arbitrary current distribution. For these related projects the discrete sum solution of the electrostatic or magnetostatic field are individualized by the charge or current distributions and the configuration of the structure in three dimensions.

In the third project, students are required to find the two fundamental Smith Chart solutions for a stub matching network and realize this network using microstrip transmission line. Variables that are modified to individualize the project include load impedance, operating frequency, stub termination (open or short), and substrate properties. Performance is compared for the two networks over a range of frequencies. The final project requires the student to determine the beam pattern for an array of four dipoles. Each dipole in the array has an individualized current magnitude, phase and orientation that are linked to the student’s ID number. Additionally, an estimate of the array’s beam solid angle and directivity is required. We will discuss how well these projects result in individualized work along with our recommendations for future projects.

1. Fields from Arbitrary Source Distributions

a. Electrostatics The vector electric field from an arbitrary static charge distribution can be calculated by the application of Coulomb’s Law. Utilizing first the conceptually reasonable point charge, then the somewhat implausible infinite line and surface charges densities, closed form integral solutions for the vector electric field are obtained. Solutions using Gauss’ Law for the same charge distributions can simplify the analysis. However, the fundamental aspects of Coulomb’s Law,

Wentworth, S., & Silage, D., & Baginski, M. (2010, June), Individualized Matlab Projects In Undergraduate Electromagnetics Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15655

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